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IMLA-FATA Will Change The Way Banks Deal With Customers And The Government

BS&T's brief summary of the key provisions in the new International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001.

The International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 will affect the way that banks deal with their customers and the manner in which the U.S. Treasury and other government agencies interact with the banking industry. Following is a brief summary of some of the key provisions.

Financial institutions will be asked to:

* Designate a bank officer to monitor for named persons and entities;

* Block named persons and entities from access to accounts;

* Block unaffiliated shell banks from access to accounts;

* Disclose customer and account information within 120 hours of initial request by government agency, without notifying the accountholder;

* Identify a U.S. resident authorized to accept subpoena of correspondent account with foreign bank;

* Terminate correspondent relationships upon government request;

* Increase supervision of "concentration" accounts that mask the originator and beneficiary of a transfer;

* Use highly secure network of FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) to file reports and receive alerts on suspicious activities;

* Work with FinCEN to cut down the number of unnecessary alerts, to ease burden on law enforcement.

Other provisions:

* Securities broker-dealers have to file suspicious activity reports;

* Nonfinancial businesses have to meet currency reporting requirements;

* Government can seize laundered funds deposited in foreign bank by going after interbank accounts located in the U.S.;

* Treasury or Attorney General may issue summons or subpoena to foreign bank with correspondent account in the U.S.;

* Foreign governments will be encouraged to require wire transfers to include name of originator, and carry that information all the way through to final disbursement;

* Increased vigilance planned against bulk cash smugglers;

* "Analog, digital, or electronic images" included in definition of counterfeiting;

* Offenses committed abroad involving an "access device issued, owned, managed or controlled" by a U.S. financial institution are now subject to U.S. laws and sanctions.

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